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Film of the week Young Eve

The Star's critic MARIA DUARTE admires the debut of a new English director that examines the sexual awakening of a young woman amid foster care and poverty

Hoard (18)
Directed by Luna Carmoon

 
AUDACIOUS, disturbing and smell-ridden comes to mind when describing this bizarre and intense psychological drama, that deals with mental health disorder, trauma and a brutal sexual awakening. 
 
Luna Carmoon’s directorial debut feature, which she also wrote, opens in 1984 London. Seven-year-old Maria (impressive newcomer Lily-Beau Leach) lives in a rubbish-filled home which she and her mother (Hayley Squires), who is a hoarder, have been collecting from bins on their nightly jaunts. They live in their own loving and magical world but at school Maria is picked on and signalled out for being tired, dirty and dishevelled and forgetting her PE kit which she cannot find among the mess. 

One night after a shocking development her life falls apart. 
 
This does beg the question: why weren’t social services alerted sooner? Where was the school’s duty of care? 
 
Ten years later Maria (Saura Lightfoot-Leon) is living with her foster mum Michelle (Samantha Spiro). It is her very last day at school and when she returns home she meets a stranger Michael (Joseph Quinn) there. A slow animalistic bond develops between them which turns violent and opens the door to past trauma. She begins to have flashbacks to her real mum and starts trawling through bins and hoarding rubbish again. Like mother like daughter. 
 
She is spiralling into madness as her relationship with the troubled Michael becomes increasingly physical and carnal. 
 
It is dirty, grimy and stomach-churning as she hides the rubbish in the house, and they exchange all manner of bodily fluids. You can almost smell it. It is very hard to watch at times. This isn’t for those with a weak constitution. 
 
The teenage Maria does not hold back in exploring her sexuality with Michael, who is almost 30 and whose fiancée is expecting their first child, which is totally screwed up. However, she cannot tell what is real and what isn’t. 
 
Powered by standout performances, Carmoon’s uncompromising film is totally unnerving but shows innovative skill and promise. 

Out in cinemas tomorrow.

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